Katherine A. Ates joined the university in January 2014 as executive vice president and chief of staff to the president.
She serves as a top adviser to President Ronald J. Daniels and as his liaison to key groups inside and outside the university. She helps to anticipate important issues and manage the university’s response and also directs the work of the president’s office and his staff.
Ates, who goes by “Kerry,” previously worked on Capitol Hill as the top aide to Sen. John D. “Jay” Rockefeller IV, D-W.Va. She joined Rockefeller in 1997, working originally as general counsel and becoming chief of staff in 2003. In that role, she managed a $3.5 million annual budget and more than 50 staff members in Washington and West Virginia offices. She was also the five-term senator’s top adviser on policy issues, including health care, telecommunications, intelligence and national security, the economy, taxation and transportation.
She was also the senator’s lead adviser on political and philanthropic matters, serving as campaign director and senior adviser to the Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, a research center based at West Virginia University with additional laboratories at Johns Hopkins.
Ates is a 1990 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, where she majored in government and politics and in Japanese. She earned a law degree in 1993 from the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked for four years as an attorney before joining Rockefeller’s office. She is a member of the bar in Washington, D.C., and California.